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INQUEST families give powerful testimony on mental health and deaths in prison to MPs and C4 News
INQUEST this week gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights' Inquiry into Mental Health and Deaths in Prison, alongside the families of two prisoners who took their own lives while in custody.
Donna and Mark Saunders, the parents of Dean Saunders who died in HMP Chelmsford in 2016, and Sheila Waplington and Marlene Danter, the mother and aunt of Diane Waplington, who died in HMP Peterborough in 2014, were accompanied by our director, Deborah Coles, and caseworker, Selen Cavcav.
In moving testimony to the cross-party committee of MPs, the families spoke powerfully about the way the criminal justice system criminalised their relatives for having mental health difficulties.
Sheila Waplington and Deborah Coles later appeared in a Channel 4 News report on the deaths of women in prison. A total of 12 women took their own lives in prison last year - a record high. Sheila said her daughter was "criminalised for being ill".
‘The decision to publish the Cass report is an extraordinary victory for INQUEST… Belatedly, it lifts another layer of camouflage from the secrets, lies and impunity that prevail in large sections of the British state and make such terrible events not merely possible but more likely…What INQUEST, Celia Stubbs and countless others around the world – say, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared in Argentina – keep reminding us is not just that the instincts of the powerful are wrong, but that they can also be defeated, however long it may take.’
– David Ransom, friend of Blair Peach and former editor of New Internationalist magazine